Choosenick. Notes and observations on service design, as well as other interesting things/thinking. By Nick Marsh.

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A brilliant history of the world through design

I'm really, really, enjoying the current BBC podcast series, A History of the World in 100 Objects. It's presented by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, and features a great supporting cast of enthusiastic specialists. I can't recommend it enough - go and subscribe today!

Essentially, the programme is an ambitious (but accessible) attempt to tell the history of the world through design. As they say "The project focuses on the things we have made, from flint to mobile phone." Its so refreshing to have a narrative of this scale told through stuff - in contrast to the standard way of exploring the sweep of history through stories of who killed who and which man was in charge when.

The objects selected are fascinating in their own right, but for me its the way MacGregor connects the everyday nature of the objects with wider themes that really sets my spine tingling. His immense, polymathematical enthusiasm and boyish wonder is infectious. The series, and the man, reminds me a lot of the scientist and broadcaster J Bronowski and his awesome (in the old sense of the word) series The Ascent of Man (also a must watch!).

The 100 objects format works brilliantly as a podcast - 100 accessible 12 minute chunks updated every day. If you're interested in design, and the relationship between design, designing and being human, subscribe! Inspiring, fun, accessible - brilliant!
February 3rd, 2010 / Trackback / Comments